Squirrel wars! Help settle this urban dispute!

Squirrel wars! Help settle this urban dispute!

My neighbor and I are in a stand-off, so I'm going to let you be the voice of justice in the comments section.

My neighbor started a friendship with an injured squirrel sometime around last fall. After nursing "Betsy" back to health, he became very vested in the interests of all the squirrels in the neighborhood, building them a shelter in his back yard and providing them with daily meals. 

Opposing parties believe this has turned the neighborhood squirrels aggressive. Stripped of their natural human fear and expecting food, they are hopping into grocery bags held in people's arms and fighting toddlers for their peanut butter sandwiches. It is the general opinion on this block that the squirrels are out of control due to the "squirrel sanctuary" across the street from my house.

The squirrel whisperer insists we are all anti-wildlife and that he will not give into our bullying. He is merely showing compassion to lesser creatures whom he considers pets.

So. Who's right? Should we leave the squirrel charmer alone, or is he doing a disservice to the community (and the squirrels if you consider tampering with their natural instincts) by feeding them?

Votes please!

UPDATE: Compromise! The humanitarian neighbor has agreed to only put seeds and nuts in a container and cease hand-feeding on the front porch. The best news? We are still friends. Yay, Andersonville!

 

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Gimme that SANDWICH, lady!

 

 

 

 

 

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  • I don't know if there is a lot you can do, since it's in his own yard...but that said, all wild animals can be aggressive, even when "domesticated" so it's probably a really bad idea to let squirrels roam the neighborhood trying to steal people's food and such. I mean, squirrels can be rabies carriers and I'd be really pissed if my kid was bit by a supposedly tame squirrel. This is a tough one for sure!

  • In reply to mivie0513:

    I don't think I could, nor would I want to do anything legally. But that's an interesting point! It *is* his lawn . . . tiny as lawns in the city are :/

  • In reply to mivie0513:

    I would advise you to get your facts straight on rabies.
    You have a better chance of getting rabies from stray cats
    If you don't believe that, check out the CDC website for statistics.

  • In reply to Lilymn10:

    Boom, you're wrong:

    http://www.unitedwildlife.com/AnimalsSquirrel.html#h

  • In reply to Lilymn10:

    I find the CDC more credible than a pest removal service.
    http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/animals/other.html

    "Small rodents like squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, and mice) and lagomorphs including rabbits and hares are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to transmit rabies to humans."

  • In reply to Gudrun:

    Directly from the CDC . . .

    "It would be really unusual for rats, mice, squirrels, or groundhogs to get rabies, but it does happen."

    Link: http://www.cdc.gov/rabiesandkids/animals.html

    Rare, possible, DOES HAPPEN.

  • In reply to VelvetMinxx:

    It sounds as if these negative comments are coming from people who are not parents, people who do NOT have little children to protect, and would quite possibly feed your kids to the squirrels. Forgive them.

  • YOU are right. This is a perfect example of what can go wrong when feeding the wildlife. My husband waged the same war with me when I fed the raccoons out my kitchen window. (They left the garbage cans alone though.:>)

  • In reply to jtithof:

    Aw, you were feeding raccoons? They are cute, but it can turn dangerous!

  • I don't recall the specifics, but I recall seeing something about some part of asia having a problem with monkeys for the same reason. The tourists feed them for fun, but now they are so used to it their entitlement has made them violent. My un-researched opinion is he's doing more harm than good.

  • In reply to Bugsy1211:

    I heard that monkey thing too! Wait, was that the smoking monkey? He was begging cigarettes off people at the zoo? Hilarious.

  • I definitely vote for NOT feeding the squirrels! I've seen how aggressive they can be in the city. Especially if they see a small child carrying food! I've had a squirrel climb into Theory's stroller at the playground (he wasn't in it at the time) and take his snack trap full of crackers out and run off with it. Luckily a Dad at the playground ran after the squirrel and rescued the snack trap! Definitely No feeding the squirrels and NO feeding the birds at the beach for that matter!

  • In reply to smackaman:

    SCARY! If it crawled into B's stroller, I'd freak out. One already tried but I was quick enough to go crazy on it.

  • In reply to smackaman:

    Squirrels typically habituate to one person if only one person is feeding them. The problem comes when many people are hand feeding them.

  • When I worked at Loyola U years ago the squirrels on the lake shore campus were very aggressive as a result of being fed all the time, and had no fear of humans. I had one jump onto my pants leg and chatter away, looking for a handout. I finally shook him loose and he dropped off and stood there chattering at me. THe only wound I suffered was to my dignity, because I looked like I had St Vitus' Dance. Another time I saw a squirrel dragging a half-eaten jelly donut down the sidewalk.

    Squirrels are essentially rats, but cute and with bushy tails. I would not be happy living by the squirrel whisperer you describe.

  • In reply to JoetheCop:

    Haha! Wish I could have seen it!

  • In reply to JoetheCop:

    This is the most ridiculous statement....

    "they are hopping into grocery bags held in people's arms and fighting toddlers for their peanut butter sandwiches." You are using a scare tactic to convince people to rally to your side and it's painfully apparent.

    Wild squirrels that are accustomed to feeding by one person do not habituate to more than one person. This sounds like a gross exaggeration made by someone who doesn't know how to deter wildlife. If you don't want the squirrels in your yard, you can gently spray them with a hose, clap your hands, stomp your feet, or make other startling gestures.
    After a few times, they get the message. Very simple solution. They're intelligent and often put the human race to shame.

    If squirrels are being fed nuts and other nutritious foods, they put their discriminating nose up at the offending offering of peanut butter, which offends their rather refined palate.

    Such a simple solution to a simple problem. Try it.

  • In reply to Lilymn10:

    I contacted the Humane society and they backed me on this. They actually encouraged me to call the authorities. I do not want to go that route, as I would rather have peace in my neighborhood.

    Direct quote from the email correspondence:

    "If you have not already I would reccommend [sic] contacting the local authorities and see what or if there are any town ordinances or health department rules that may be enforce. Unfortunately there are no laws that he is breaking as part of the Animal Welfare Act and not much we can do to enforce it."

    Another:

    "I completely understand where you are coming from. I can tell you that we definetly do not deal with issues like this very often but we do not encourage people to interveine [sic] with nature. "

    As for the grocery bag incident and fighting MY child for her sandwich, this is a report of true incidents.

    Just don't fucking feed the rodents. Yes, rodents:

    http://www.blurtit.com/q698244.html

    It's highly annoying to the neighbors in the close quarters of an urban environment.

  • In reply to JoetheCop:

    Again, this happens in a situation where many people are feeding in a large area. Animals can lose their fear of humans when many people are hand feeding. Squirrels in particular tend to habituate to one person if only one person is feeding.

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